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Hi Chalsteve
I have brought up my thread entitled ‘The F&F Cycle’ which I hope will show you that the hamster wheel you and your son are on is something that is understood by many. Those who love CGs do have rock bottoms and they are usually very painful – often it becomes essential that they get themselves out of the cycle first.
Your son’s rock bottom, when it comes, will not be a visible thing, it is a mental state for him and only a true change of behaviour will give you the peace you are hoping for.
I know the pain of seeing other families seemingly enjoying perfect relationships and I am not decrying them but I have found, since I fought my own way into my own recovery, that many more families have problems than I had thought. Do your mates know you have a CG son? It probably feels foreign to tell friends about a problem in your family but I think it is good to just say the words out loud without asking for opinions. Support can come from them just knowing. I have had friends confide in me that they had concerns too simply because I said I had a CG in my family.
I wish I could agree that your son ’has’ to find a new job and that he ‘has’ to make an effort in expectation of a good outcome any time soon. It is far better, I believe, to understand that what you feel he has to do is not what he feels he has to do. In recovery my CG told me that when I said I ‘needed’ him to stop lying and start living an honest and decent life it was ‘my’ need I was talking about, not his – his need was to gamble.
I think you are right to set your criteria and make the commitment to yourself that you will not be brought down by his addiction. Never give ultimatums that you cannot carry through or he will not see the point of facing a demon he doesn’t want to face. Don’t give up, keep gaining knowledge of this awful addiction and learn to live your life without his addiction filling your every thought.
I suggest that your son is afraid of GMA because he doesn’t know how to deal with himself and the way he feels, the addiction to gamble stunts emotional maturity. A CG who seeks recovery sees a void because the gamble is the only thing, in their gamble-brain, worth ‘living’ for. Your son’s compulsive gambling has nothing to do with money, it is all about the gamble, a gamble you and I know he cannot win. It is not his fault, just like you, he neither asked for nor wanted his addiction.
I would like to say to you ‘don’t envy your mates laughing with their adult sons but I know how you feel – your son would almost certainly love to be like them too but he cannot see his way out yet. You are temporarily ploughing a different furrow from you mates – in my opinion it is good to let them know.
Keep communication open with your son (I hope I don’t sound patronising because I assure you I am not) but listening to him is more important than talking to him. He will be lonely, unhappy and afraid. Never forget that you are stronger than his addiction however much you feel you are not.
Keep posting